You’ve got the ability to transform any or aspects of your personal and professional experience if you choose to do so.
That may sound audacious, and it is. It’s also true.
Recently I touched on this topic by introducing the Wheel of Life. That’s where we examine the eight core areas of our lives to consider how happy we are with them; which ones we want to devote more energy to and prioritize; and what the ideal experience would be in each area. We consider where we are now and what a feasible timeline would be to achieve these new, bigger visions.
The eight areas:
Health and wellness.
Activities and vacations.
Money and belongings.
Personal growth and spirituality.
Loved ones and your inner circle.
Civic engagement, causes and volunteering,
Friends and socializing.
Thinking deeply about these aspects of our life is a crucial first step. Once we have clarified a vision and established a timeframe, then comes the often-challenging implementation phase.
Now, some of us are excellent at implementing and can’t wait to tackle action steps and check them off our to-do list with tremendous glee and satisfaction. If that’s you, excellent! Go forth and tackle your Wheel of Life and enjoy!!
Others of us need a little push to get started, and sometimes a prompt or two to stay motivated and rolling forward. Now, why would some of us need a nudge to take action on something meaningful? It’s because change can be difficult, even when we want the desired outcome a lot. It’s tough because it takes energy, has no guarantees and requires us to break longtime habits and create new patterns and processes. The status quo, though possibly lackluster, is at least familiar, easy to maintain and a known entity.
How To Get The Nudges We Need
So how do we set ourselves up for success? By starting with small activities that give us quick wins by making us feel more vibrant mentally, physically and emotionally.
Here’s what works for me.
At the heart of my own transformation lies a practice I’ve refined over the years. I call it the Daily 5. It features a minimum of five brief boosters, which are mindful pauses I take every few hours (at roughly 7 am, 11 am, 3 pm, 6pm and 10pm).
The kickoff pause is a centering practice, which establishes the entire foundation of my day. This morning booster typically includes a review of what’s planned, what I’m grateful for, and how I want to approach work and my interactions with others. For example, I might imagine a specific person or two I know I’ll be seeing, and I envision how I can be the best version of myself when I interact with them.
Each remaining booster is something different, and when I do it, I’m not doing anything else like checking email or social media or glancing at TV. Most activities take just 5 or 10 minutes, like enjoying a cup of tea while I read an article; meditation; yoga stretches … you get the idea. My dog walking breaks take much longer than 10 minutes, and they’re my favorite.
I can’t tell you what a huge, positive difference these daily boosters have made on my focus, energy, goals and relationships. Each one requires me to turn inward and away from whatever I’m working on or thinking about. It’s like a 5-minute spa visit full of me time, self-care and no distractions.
How These Boosters Boost
What breaks like these do is help:
Sharpen your attention — when you’re pausing, you’re pausing and when you’re working you’re working, and the two shall not meet.
Give your brain a breather so when you return to a work task it’s rested and refreshed.
Keep your energy flowing. It’s so easy to sit and work for hours forgetting we are a whole person whose body needs to stretch and whose mind needs to relax.
Remind you of your larger priorities and goals. When we take time to walk our dog or sip some tea, we’ve successfully pulled ourselves out of the task-oriented vortex. We interact with other important aspects of our lives so our Wheel of Life isn’t just one big slice of work.
Create new habits that disrupt your standard patterns so you have time, energy and space to give proper attention to yourself and what matters most.
To get started adding daily boosters to your routine, begin with one or two and build from there. Perhaps it’s the morning centering practice and a 3pm cup of tea. See how you feel. See if you find yourself more focused. If your conversations become better. If your energy is flowing better.
Once you’ve got a foundation that’s more attentive to your mind and body, more aware of the goals and visions you have for the other aspects of your life, and once you feel more focused an energized, you’re ready to implement your Wheel of Life vision with gusto!
Trie Angeleva is a mindful career strategist who writes about mindful living and career transformation. A former COO, she is founder of The Love Monday Method and developed and taught Career Success Preparation for The Media School at Indiana University. She has two Master's degrees, five coaching certifications and a certificate in Executive Leadership from Cornell University. Follow her on instagram at @reimaginemonday for tips and strategies on how to love what you do and lead a mindful life.